Spurned Gowalla Employees Get Better Offer with Faceb-agram

By Sarah Lacy , written on April 11, 2012

From The News Desk

We are not in a bubble.

But we are in a period of roaring valuations. And this is one of those stories you only hear in a place like Silicon Valley during a time like this.

A big caveat to my earlier story about Facebook's relatively good track record with acquisitions appears to be Gowalla.

For instance, check out this guy's snarky Twitter feed. His bio still reads culture evangelist at Gowalla. "I bleed orange!" An example:

— Andrew Waldrup (@amwaldrup) April 9, 2012 This could be because -- or why -- very few of the Austin-based employees wound up relocating to One Hacker Way. Our research shows that out of the 30 or so people working at Gowalla at the time of its acquisition, we could confirm only four Gowallans (is that a thing you guys called yourselves?) who were actually offered jobs at Facebook and accepted.

Several went to Heroku, with several others going to lesser known companies.

A lucky two, Philip McAllister and Tim Van Damme, got jobs at Instagram instead. Whether Facebook didn't want them or they didn't want Facebook is unclear. (Let's assume the latter.) But what is clear is that they benefitted handsomely. Some five months later, they were touring their new homes at the Hacker Borg, complete with a considerably more handsome payout than their more prized Gowalla peers received.

If Facebook turned them down: Sweet mini-revenge. If they turned Facebook down: That was an impressive game of accidental poker.

Either way, I can't be the only one who thinks it's awesome.

(We reached out to several people at Instagram and they declined to comment on this story.)